The Path of Zath: Technology #1

The Google+ Long Game Is Brilliant – could Google+ eventually win out over the social network competition? They do keep adding good new features such as Hangouts and Communities and I’d rather use it more than Facebook…if only we could all agree to just move over from Facebook!

How Google Author Rank could change content marketing and journalism – as much as I’m not a fan of some of Google’s algorithm changes over the past couple of years (one hurt Zath pretty badly), I do kind of like the idea of good authors getting deserved recognition in search results, obviously it’s just another ploy to make you use Google+ and get more social signals.

Wikipedia hoax about a war that never happened deleted after 5 years – it makes you wonder just what else might be up on Wikipedia that has no basis in fact?
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The Path of Zath: Gaming #1

The Best PC Games being released in 2013 – a great list of pc games due for release this year broken down by type of game, it looks like it’s going to be a great year for PC gaming! (UPDATE: PC Gamer have included updates of how the games turned out with quick summaries and links to their full reviews, quite cool to see how the year turned out!)

Amazing Chinese-style Assassin’s Creed artwork – I’m a real fan of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, while admittedly these are far from perfect yet, still very enjoyable and a great way to virtually experience some history from around the world. From looking at this artwork, I think Medieval Chinese assassin would definitely be an interesting setting for a future game.

This fantastic aerial photo of NYC turns Manhattan into ‘Sim City’ – I used to love the first two Sim City games back as a kid, so this view of New York looks amazing!
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Samsung Series 3 Chromebook Review

samsung-series-3-chromebook-frontviewIn an age of smartphones, tablets, transformers, ultrabooks and retina displays, Google’s Chromebooks – a series of cloud-centric laptops – are probably the least appealing of the bunch. The common knowledge that you’ll be purchasing an underpowered machine that’s almost entirely dependent on the Internet is enough to ward off even the most open-minded of tech enthusiasts. Add in a high price tag, combined with other noticeable limitations of Google’s browser powered laptops and you’d be forgiven for thinking that Google’s genius had gone missing on this occasion. But actually, Chromebooks aren’t as bad as they sound – honestly!
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The WIRED Pop-Up Store! – #SamsungWIRED

A couple of months ago I bought myself a Samsung Galaxy S3 (which was a rather pleasant and substantial upgrade over my iPhone 4), so when I was offered the chance to attend a preview event of the WIRED Pop-Up Store, I was certainly looking forward to seeing what kind of technology a respected magazine publisher and Samsung could assemble into a temporary high street space in the run-up to Christmas!

The whole idea of this collaboration is to present the concept of the “New Industrial Revolution” – where creative thinking is meeting new technologies to inform new manufacturing techniques, product customisation and SMART business innovations – and give a glimpse into the world in 2013.
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What Makes A Laptop An Ultrabook? We Take A Look At The Requirements

If you have you been shopping around for a laptop lately then you will have almost certainly noticed  the name “Ultrabook”, a name which numerous computer manufacturers seem to be applying to their laptops lately.

Now although the name Ultrabook may not be truly imaginative or catch consumer attention for the right reasons (marketing folk’ tend to overuse terms to draw consumer eyes), there is a genuine reason that the Ultrabook name is cropping up everywhere currently.

If you are confused about what an Ultrabook actually is, I aim to try to explain this, the best I can in this article. If you are shopping around online for an Ultrabook and already know what one is, then this handy Ultrabook buyers guide should help you out a lot. Read on to find out what makes a laptop an Ultrabook.
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Takedown Preview – Interview with Christian Allen

So back at E3, a couple of weeks ago, I was delighted to get the chance to sit down with an industry veteran, Christian Allen, who’s now becoming responsible for bringing the hardcore tactical shooter back to the market, where more casual shooters have left a large subsection of the gamer audience clamouring for more depth, more realism and better tactical gameplay. Project Takedown reached its Kickstarter funding goal back in the beginning of April, and the team at Serellan is now getting stuck into the development, working to reintroduce the genre, eschewing certain elements of modern FPS design that have begun to compromise the shooter experience, in favour of a more old school approach.
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DayZ Preview – Interview With Dean ‘rocket’ Hall

DayZ, Dean “rocket” Hall’s zombie survival mod for Bohemia Interactive’s Arma II, has exploded over the face of the internet’s games community. This is not just ‘some zombie game’ to add to the pile of industry’s most ubiquitous theme – it’s what everyone, from the word go, has been asking for from a zombie game: open-world realistic survival.

Still in alpha, as its creator is eager to stress, DayZ is drawing an inordinate amount of gamers into its harsh world simply by providing a large open island filled with villages and towns, Chernarus, a selection of scavengable weapons, medical supplies and food, scattered throughout the empty buildings and 30-50 other players, who may or may not be willing to try to survive alongside each other. With 1:1 time, food, drink and blood meters along with the occasional need for realistic first aid treatment and full-on unrestricted PvP, DayZ’s vision of the zombie apocalypse is bleak and satisfyingly simple in its realism.
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Arma 3 Preview (@ZathUK at E3 2012)

arma-3-cover-artBohemia Interactive released Arma 2 three years ago, and thanks to its expansive open world and realistic design, space for player creativity and extensive mod support, it’s still going strong if sales and the activity of the community are anything to go by; which they are. BI’s approach to to its sequel, I’m assured by Jay Crowe, Creative Director, is that of building upon that solid base, developing new innovations and features that can latch onto their powerful in-house Real Virtuality engine.

While Arma 2 excelled in its vast landscapes and incredibly realistic ballistics, it lacked a little in some of the finer details. Arma 3 has gone to lengths to fix that. NPC animations have been updated to look more natural and to take the surrounding terrain into account, the whole world is more colourful and more detailed and the inventory has been revamped (it was really needed) with a tab system that looks infinitely more usable.
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Planetside 2 Preview (@ZathUK at E3 2012)

planetside-2-logoIt’s been a while since Sony Online Entertainment released the original Planetside – nine years to be exact. It was a great idea, and an admirable one, but it was launched way before its time. Now Planetside 2 is well on its way to release, being shown for the first time at E3.

Most notably it’s free to play – this is going to be a red flag to people, especially fans of the original; but from what we’ve been told so far the pricing structure looks promising. Cosmetic changes make up the bulk of ‘Station Cash’ purchases, along with a few limited upgrades and weapons (which can also be bought with in-game resources). Obviously, getting the right balance here is absolutely critical, and success in this area is the difference between pay-to-win games that fall by the wayside and hugely popular games like Blacklight: Retribution or Tribes: Ascend.
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Crysis 3 Preview (@ZathUK at E3 2012)

crysis-3-cover-artCrytek was kind enough to let us get a hands-on preview of Crysis 3 today and opened by telling us that Prophet will be the main character – apparently he didn’t die in Crysis 2. Why? How? You’ll have to wait and see, we are told. On that note I was dropped into a New York cityscape invaded by the elements, sprawling with jungle plants and trees from street level to skyscraper and the CryEngine (with a bit of help from some very expensive computers we were playing on) had made it look stunning.

After having been sealed under a dome by the Cell Corporation, New York has become rather steamy and different sections of the city have been transformed into different types of jungle environment including canyons and swamps.
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